A Guide to the Stars
For SHAWN MEHR, who may very well be more materialistic than I
Cover design by Brian Bean
Utah Celebrities: A Guide to the Stars was printed on acid-free paper and was composed, printed, and bound in the United States.
© 1995 Telestial Books. All rights reserved.
2000 99 98 97 96 95 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Utah Celebrities : a guide to the stars / Boyd Payne
ISBN 1-56085-052-3 (paper)
1. Celebrities—Utah—Biography. 2. Utah—Biography. I. Title.
As much as I would like to consider this book mine alone, I am grateful to the organizations and individuals who helped me obtain biographical information and photographs. Of those who were particularly helpful, I wish to thank the following:
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
Beaver County Recorders Office
Box Elder County Recorders Office
Cache County Recorders Office
Carbon County Recorders Office
Collection Book Store
Daggett County Recorders Office
Davis County Planning Office
Davis County Recorders Office
Lex de Azevedo
Deer Valley Resort
Deseret Book Company
Directors Guild of America
Duchesne County Recorders Office
Emery County Recorders Office
Francklin Quest Company
Garfield County Recorders Office
Good Morning America, Public Relations Department
Grand County Chamber of Commerce
Grand County Recorders Office
Office of Senator Orrin Hatch
Denis J. Healy
Hollywood Book and Poster Company
Iron County Recorders Office
Juan County Recorders Office
Kane County Recorders Office
Larry Edmunds Book Shop
Brent Lee Metcalfe
Millard County Recorders Office
Morgan County Clerks Office
Morgan County Recorders Office
National Broadcasting Corporation
Park City Board of Realtors
E. G. Perry
Piute County Recorders Office
D. Michael Quinn
Rich County Recorders Office
Salt Lake City Public Library System
Salt Lake County Recorders Office
San Juan County Chamber of Commerce
San Juan County Recorders Office
Sanpete County Recorders Office
Santa Clara Planning and Zoning
Screen Actors Guild
Sevier County Recorders Office
Songwriters Guild of America
Kathryn E. Sullivan
Summit County Recorders Office
Sundance Film Institute
Tooele County Recorders Office
Uintah County Clerks Office
Uintah County Recorders Office
Utah County Recorders Office
Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Corporations
Wasatch County Recorders Office
Washington City Planning and Zoning
Washington County Chamber of Commerce
Washington County Planning and Zoning
Washington County Recorders Office
Wayne County Recorders Office
Weber County Recorders Office
Donna Sparks Williams
I am profoundly indebted to Mike Andrews who spent hours, drove hundreds of miles, and pulled who knows what stunts, to photograph the homes that are included with the biographical sketches.
Glitter and glamour in Utah? As worldwide headquarters of the Mormon church, the state’s cosmopolitan ambiance is tempered by a heavy dose of sobriety. Yet the Mormon prophet and apostles turn heads and stop traffic like other prominent individuals. The corporate founders and industrial moguls of American Express, American Stores, Micron, Novell, and Thiokol, to name a few, further enhance the state’s button-down Brooks Brothers image.
But there is a flashy side to Utah. Think of Robert Redford’s ski resort and film festival which draw Hollywood stars in droves. With the perennial success of the Utah Jazz, the forthcoming Winter Olympics, the outback solitude and scenery, and the ever-improving restaurant and pub scene, no wonder celebrities flock here.
I confess to some difficulty in deciding who, of all local luminaries, to include in this compilation. Given the right criteria, many more stars would qualify. I looked primarily at national name recognition, which is subjective, and then at documentable residency, but probably overlooked many people’s favorite celebrities, for which I apologize.
Friends wanted me to pinpoint their favorite movie stars’ homes on maps, which, after some consideration, seemed too problematic so I settled for photographs. I think these serve nicely both as evidence of residency and in telling something about the occupants. Admittedly some of these homes are weekend-getaway cabins or condominiums, but since they are so often larger than most Utahns’ primary residences, I decided to include them.
Not that celebrities necessarily live in palaces. But unlike the rest of us, those who live modestly usually do so by choice. I found that the common denominator, far from opulence or good looks or luck, is a persistent talent, which sometimes borders on the inconceivable. For instance, Utahn Robby Benson has become as celebrated as a composer as he is an actor. Between the achievements of two of the many Deer Valley condominium owners, Steve Bochco and James Burrows, one would be hard pressed to think of any hit television show which one of them did not direct, produce, or write.
So allow yourself to lapse into reverie as you review these people’s lives and realize the remarkable impact they may have had on your life. If you are a star gazer, remember that these people have moved here in part to get away from paparazzi like you and me. Please be considerate.
A few celebrities from bygone years should be mentioned—stars who have figuratively and literally moved on. For instance, aficionados may remember New York stage actress Maude Adams, born in Salt Lake City in 1872, real name Maude Kiskadden. Her first stop billing came as a Lady Babbie in The Little Minister, and her greatest successes were in A Kiss for Cinderella, Quality Street, What Every Woman Knows, and especially Peter Pan. Keeping out of public view, she lived quietly in retirement in Tannersville, New York, until her death in 1953.
Film director Hal Ashby was born in Ogden in the late 1920s and began his film career with The Landlord. He received an Academy Award in 1967 for editing In the Heat of the Night. He died in 1988.
Comedienne Roseanne Barr, born in 1952 in Salt Lake City where her parents and siblings still live, became a household name with her television series Roseanne.
Director Frank Borzage (1893-1962), of Salt Lake City, won two Academy Awards, one in 1927 as Best Director for Seventh Heaven and another in 1931 for Bad Girl. Borzage was one of the first directors to use soft focus and gauzed photography.
Actress Betty Compson (1897-1974), born in Beaver as Eleanor Luicime Compson, was one of the leading ladies of the silent era. Her most memorable roles were as a prostitute in Docks of New York, the assistant to a mad ventriloquist in The Great Gabbo, and co-star of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Compson received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1928 for The Barker.
Director and former actor James Cruze (1884-1942), an Ogdenite whose full name was James Cruze Bosen, directed The Covered Wagon, a famous Western that influenced future epics and documentaries. Cruze was married at one time to Betty Compson.
Actress Laraine Day harks from Roosevelt, where she was born in 1920 as LaRaine Johnson. She was Nurse Mary Lamont, the fiancée of Lew Ayres, in the motion picture “Dr. Kildare” series. A devout Mormon, her reputation in Hollywood included abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.
Actor Tony Geary was the TV heartthrob Luke Spencer on General Hospital, a role that won him an Emmy Award as Best Actor in a Daytime Drama. He was born in 1947 in Coalville.
Actor and screenwriter John Gilbert (1895-1936)—real name John Pringle—was a Loganite who was esteemed, next to Rudolph Valentino, as the Celluloid lover of that era. He starred in He Who Gets Slapped, and his career soared when he appeared with Great Garbo in Flesh and the Devil, Love, and A Woman of Affairs. He died of a heart attack after heavy drinking at age 41.
Composer Leigh Harline (1907-69), born in Salt Lake City, arranged and scored motion picture melodies, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He won two Academy Awards in 1940 for the original score to Pinocchio and for the song “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
Bluff native Charles B. Lang, born in 1902, worked as director of photography under Dorothy Arzner on Anybody’s Woman and under Paul Mazursky on Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. With 17 Academy Award nominations behind him, he won an Oscar in 1932 for A Farewell to Arms.
Actor Moroni Olsen (1889-1954) of Ogden played roles ranging from sympathetic to villainous, including Robert E. Lee in Santa Fe Trail (with Errol Flynn) and Sam Houston in Lone Star (with Clark Gable). Olsen appeared in Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Deliah, then with Lucille Ball in The Long, Long Trailer, and with Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride.
Donny Osmond, born in 1957 in Ogden (not Provo), made his vocal debut at age four on The Andy Williams Show. His talent was teamed with his younger sister Marie on television’s The Donny and Marie Show. Osmond has 23 gold albums—solo, with his sister Marie, and with The Osmond Brothers. Marie, who is two years his junior, went gold with her first country/western solo album Paper Roses.
Actress and designer Natacha Rambova (1897-1966) was born in Salt Lake City as Winifred Shaunessey Hudnut. She became Mrs. Rudolph Valentino and was his director during the last years of his career.
The screenplay writer for the popular Captain Blood movies was Loganite Casey Robinson (1903-79). He was married to Russian ballerina Tamara Toumanova. His real name was Kenneth C. Robinson.
Actor Mark Swain (1876-1935) contributed to Mack Sennett’s Keystone slapstick success. Swain’s friend Charlie Chaplin also cast him in The Gold Rush as Big Jim McKay. Swain, 6’2″, 280 lbs., was born in Salt Lake City.
Robert Walker (1918-51) was the lead male in such MGM productions as Bataan and The Clock (opposite Judy Garland). Born in Salt Lake City, he died at age of 32 of respiratory failure.
Actress Marie Windsor trained for the stage under Maria Ouspenskaya, a former Miss Utah, and was a leading lady with stage, radio, television, and films, starring in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, Freaky Friday, The Killing, and The Narrow Margin, among others. She was born in 1922 in Marysvale as Emily Marie Bertelson.
James Woods (1947) attracted wide attention as a cop-killer in The Onion Field. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in Salvador. He was born in Vernal.
Loretta Young—birth name Gretchen Michaela Young—was born in Salt Lake City in 1913. She starred in more than 100 films, including Come to the Stable and The Farmer’s Daughter, for which she received an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1947. She is best known for her award-winning television series, The Loretta Young Show.
Stars from fields other than theater and music include inventor John Moses Browning who was born in 1855 in Ogden and designed firearms for several manufacturers. These included his repeating rifle, a repeating shotgun for Winchester, the Remington automatic-loading shotguns and rifles, Stevens rifles, and Colt automatic pistols. His weapons were used during World War II. He died in 1926.
Author Bernard Augustine De Voto (1897-1955) taught at the University of Utah and at Harvard University and wrote controversial views of American history, winning both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes for Across the Wide Missouri. Other popular titles included The Year of Decision: 1846 and The Course of Empire. Several novels written under the pseudonym “John August” helped support his historical research.
Inventor Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-71) hailed from Beaver. While attending Brigham Young University, he developed a way to transmit moving images by electricity, contributing to the invention of television. Farnsworth received more than 300 patents for his pioneering discoveries.
Finally, illustrator and cartoonist John Held, Jr., born in Salt Lake City in 1889, contributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tales of the Jazz Age and to Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, among others, and was famous for his woodcuts in the New Yorker. His comic strip, Margie, appeared in the 1920s.